SVA and E4L co-commissioned a paper from Dr Tracey Burns (Chief Research Officer at the National Center on Education and the Economy, USA) on international trends, opportunities and challenges in the use of education evidence.
Dr Burns’ paper sets out a series of reflections on the evolution of evidence-informed policy and practice in education, and suggests some future directions for the development of better evidence ecosystems.
The paper outlines three shifts in evidence-informed policy and practice in education over the last two decades:
- The changing notions of evidence
- The increasing complexity of evidence use
- A greater focus on evidence use in practice.
It then presents several opportunities to support better use of evidence in education policy and practice:
- Continue to invest in evidence in education and knowledge mobilisation
- Focus on explicit skill and capacity building
- Improve the generation of evidence: Combining different types of evidence and knowledge
- Build a cumulative knowledge base
- Develop a systems approach.
The paper also outlines some of the ongoing challenges in the space, including how the system values and creates a culture of evidence use, the reputation and respect for education and education research, and whether we are victims of our own success when it comes to use of the term ‘evidence-informed’.
The paper was developed by following international discussions, policy decisions and literature across time and systems, as well as the numerous efforts and investment in various countries; and draws on Dr Burns’ interactions with key players and institutions over time.
The aim of the paper is to spark discussions and reflection, and to help identify opportunities for action on both the local and international level.
Dr Tracey Burns, Chief Research Officer at the National Center on Education and the Economy, USA.
SVA and E4L thank the Centre for Strategic Education for publishing the paper and the Paul Ramsay Foundation for their philanthropic support to commission it.